Low Testosterone a Common Problem for Diabetic Men

They may be at double the risk of non-diabetics, study finds

SATURDAY, June 11, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Men age 45 and older with diabetes may be more than twice as likely as non-diabetic men to have low testosterone levels, U.S. researchers report.

The multi-center study, involving more than 2,100 men in 26 states, also found that sexual dysfunction was the most common symptom experienced by men with diabetes and low testosterone.

The findings were presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.

The study was funded by Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which makes testosterone-replacement therapy.

"In our study, more than half the men with diabetes also had low testosterone levels suggesting a higher prevalence of [low testosterone] among diabetic men than previously reported," study co-investigator Dr. Sherwyn L. Schwartz, director of the Diabetes and Glandular Disease Clinic in San Antonio, Texas, said in a prepared statement.

The study found that 836 (38.7 percent) of the 2,162 men had low testosterone and 495 (23 percent) had a history of diabetes. Of the 836 men with low testosterone, 756 were not receiving testosterone treatment. Of the 474 men who had a history of diabetes and were not receiving testosterone treatment, 237 (50 percent) had low levels of the hormone.

Using these figures, the researchers calculated that men age 45 and older with diabetes have a 2.09 greater risk of low testosterone than men without diabetes.

An estimated 13 million American men age 45 and older have low testosterone, but fewer than 10 percent are receiving treatment, the study authors noted.

Signs and symptoms of low testosterone include diminished interest in sex, erectile dysfunction, decreased bone mineral density, reduced muscle mass and strength, increased fat mass, and depressed mood and fatigue, according to the San Antonio team. Men with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma and hyperlipidemia are more likely to have low testosterone than other men, the researchers said.

Another expert noted that lowered testosterone is a normal function of age, and debate continues within the field as to whether most older men will benefit from hormone replacement therapies.

Speaking with HealthDay, Dr. Shalender Bhasin, chief of the division of endocrinology at Charles R. Drew University in Los Angeles, and a professor of medicine at UCLA School of Medicine, said "There's also no question that testosterone levels decline with advancing age. But are the [physical] declines seen in older men related to declining testosterone levels? On that point there's no agreement."

More information

The Endocrine Society and the Hormone Foundation have more about low testosterone.

SOURCE: American Diabetes Association news release, June 11, 2005
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